Crime in New York City
Learn more about Crime in New York City
| New York City|
Crime rates (2004)
|Motor vehicle theft||260.1|
|↑ Crime rates per 100,000 population|
Source: FBI 2004 UCR data
Crime in New York City is the lowest among the 25 largest cities in the United States. Since 1991, New York City has seen a continuous fifteen-year trend of decreasing crime. Neighborhoods that were once considered dangerous are now much safer. Violent crime in the city has dropped by 75% in the last twelve years and the murder rate in 2005 was at its lowest level since 1963: there were 537 murders that year, for a murder rate of 6.57 per 100,000 people, compared to 2245 murders in 1990. Some feel that the implementation of COMPSTAT crime analysis by the New York Police Department in 1994 is responsible for the positive changes.
Overall, New York City had a rate of 2,801.6 crimes per 100,000 people in 2004, compared with 8,959.7 in Dallas; 7,903.7 in Detroit; 7,402.3 in Phoenix; 7,346.8 in San Antonio; 7,194.8 in Houston; 5,470.5 in Philadelphia; 4,376.0 in Los Angeles; and 4,102.7 in San Diego.
New Yorkers are famous for doing things "bigger and better," and this sometimes applies to criminal activity: Organized crime has been associated with New York City since the early 20th Century, when legendary mobsters Arnold Rothstein, Meyer Lansky, and Lucky Luciano transformed it, although later decades are more famous for Mafia prosecutions (and prosecutors like Rudolph Giuliani) than for the influence of the Five Families. Another notorious crime story is the serial killings by the "Son of Sam", who on July 29, 1976 began a series of attacks that terrorized the city for the next year. New York had been known for its organized crime for decades, with gangs such as the Black Spades in the 70s. From the 1980s to the early 1990s the crack and cocaine epidemic hit New York City. In the year 1993 the Bloods and Crips of Los Angeles arrived in the city, first appearing at Rikers Island. Having a history of crime until recently prompted the misconception that New York City is crime-ridden, but its continuous decline in crime rates and subsequent widespread media coverage of the improvements have changed the city's image.
In 2006, as part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control efforts, the city approved new legislation regulating handgun possession and sales. The new laws established a gun offender registry, required city gun dealers to inspect their inventories and file reports to the police twice a year, and limited individual handgun purchases to once every 90 days. The regulations also banned the use and sale of kits used to paint guns in bright or fluorescent colors, on the grounds that such kits could be used to disguise real guns as toys.